The Golden Fleece

 Olga de Amaral, Woolen and Gold Weaving

Olga de Amaral is an internationally-famed artist, who draws her inspiration from the landscape and ancient culture of her country, Columbia. The weaving tradition of Latin America is an integral part of perceiving landscape as “sacred,” and with regard to the Inca tribe - landscape is primarily mountainous. Like the cities and temples which the Incas built, their fabric constitutes an abstract pattern of their landscape, as if the landscape was a kind of cloak that covers the surface of their land.
Gold is an important material in de Amaral’s work; it can be found in the center of Columbia known as the El Dorado. The ancient peoples perceived gold as a tool for esthetic and symbolic expression, and not as a goal for riches and lucre, as it was in the Western world. The local weavers sought through gold, which was abundant, to concretize the light, the brilliance and the warmth of the sun as a symbol of eternity, while they used techniques that were, in part, unknown to the rest of the world.
De Amaral’s work has a unique mark: golden plaques that shine when the light hits them at specific angles. She works with linen and cotton fabric, woven together into flat surfaces and textures; after they are plated in gold they become a gilded surface of light, under which the texture is underscored.
Olga de Amaral, who was born in Bogota Columbia, first studied architecture. She discovered her love for textile in 1954 when she was studying at an academy of art in Michigan. She is the first textile artist, who in the 1960s, transformed the art of textile into a three-dimensional abstract form. Her works are well-known internationally, and some of them are part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Opens February 21

closes May 24, 2008